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Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) and homelessness

Eddie Smithwick and Harry Palmer-Randle from the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) write about the role of Police and Crime Commissioners in supporting people who are rough sleeping.

What is a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and what do they do?

Every policing area in England and Wales has a PCC. You can find yours by visiting the APCC website.

PCCs are elected representatives (the next elections take place on 2nd May 2024), mandated by the public to oversee and scrutinise the work of Police Chief Constables. Whilst they are not operational, PCCs are responsible for setting local policing priorities. They do this by providing a direct link between the public and policing through regular consultation and engagement. PCCs also set the police budget and commission a range of initiatives, including victims’ services, diversionary activities and support projects to prevent and reduce crime.

Supporting the homelessness sector

To help PCCs to deliver their statutory responsibilities, the APCC team provides advice, support and guidance covering a variety of topics that are linked to our members responsibilities and local priorities, as well as data. Through our initial research, we were made aware of data that suggests those who are sleeping rough are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence. In addition, separate research from the Ministry of Justice indicates a 79% reoffending rate amongst people who leave prison with no accommodation. Furthermore, with recent forecasts predicting an increase in core homelessness of 25% by 2041, and an increase of 27% in rough sleepers in the last year, there is a clear need for evidence-based guidance to support the work of PCCs.

Working alongside Homeless Link, the APCC has developed a resource that we hope will encourage, inform and support PCC activity regarding rough sleeping. You can download the guidance here. A key principle that runs throughout our guidance is the need for policing to work in partnership to ensure those who are rough sleeping can access the essential support they need.

Within the guide, readers will find helpful case study examples that demonstrate how PCCs are working with partners including prisons and probation, as well as charities to provide pathways to essential support including housing, education, health and more. The guide also includes advice and recommendations on how PCCs can effectively commission services by seeking partner input – a key step to maximising funding.

Whilst we hope our guidance will effectively support PCCs to deliver their local activities, we encourage any agencies working with rough sleepers to read and digest the content. Hopefully, the guide serves as a useful introduction to the work of PCCs and helps to spark local conversations between service providers and PCCs in recognition of their shared outcomes to reduce vulnerability and harm.

For further information on our work, please visit www.apccs.police.uk.

Read the APPC guidance here


Channel website: http://www.homelesslink.org.uk

Original article link: https://homeless.org.uk/news/police-and-crime-commissioners-pcc-and-homelessness/

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